When You Say “How Are You?”, Do You Actually Mean It ?

My Dearest Mad-Readers,

Have you ever wondered if your friends were sincere when they asked you how you were feeling in the morning, if your colleagues were actually interested in why you looked more tired than usual ? If you have, I believe you would be right. Indeed, this is a question we ask and are asked once or several times a day. It certainly is the most common way of initiating a conversation, even before speaking about the weather…

Disclaimer & News

This blog post will be short and mostly contain questions to feed a discussion which we could have together in the comments. I would not pretend to hold all the answers when writing on such a topic, but I still wanted to publish something about it to learn something with you.

I am currently working on a Gentoo installation guide which I would really like to release next week, both in video and text format. This is another reason why this post is shorter than usual.

A Matter Of Etiquette

It is just something we do without thinking, something which has been passed on from one generation to the next for so many years that one does not remember when this cycle began. It is, if one may call it that way, a custom which one needs to oblige on a daily basis. People will not necessarily care everyday, which is normal because every one has their problems, and they are not always in the proper state of mind to listen. However, if you pay attention, you will notice it happens every single day, and often in a way which you have already experienced. It would be way too exhausting to ask ‘how are you’ with varying words every day of the month.

Would you not agree ? Tell me what you think in the comments below

An Issue Of Honesty

I was wondering these past few days whether one should answer ‘yes’ every time, to send positive signals to their friends, colleagues and other acquaintances, and if saying ‘no’ should strictly remain within a limited circle, such as family. I suppose the answer would depend on your character traits and personal beliefs. Some people would not mind speaking about their lives to anyone, others would never open up no matter what happened, even if the world was ending.

Is it even possible to sincerely ask all the time ?

I am not quite certain. Asking so often weakens the very meaning of that question. It is an inevitable consequence. Some people will merely ask to break the ice and get the conversation started. They will not care much about the answer, so long as it is not too negative. Actually, the more boring it would be, the better. This way they could move on to another topic.

Solutions ?

The first one I would suggest is rather obvious : actually listen and care about what the other person has to tell you, to offer you. Seize that opportunity to learn from them, because every minute of every day is an opportunity to learn, and you will be a different person depending on what you choose to do about this simple fact.

Be more specific in your questions : Did you sleep well ? How did whatever event go ? Is everything okay with your family ? If you do not laconically ask ‘how are you’ but actually make the effort to be more ‘to the point’, people will have to answer more honestly. It is harder to lie when you have to use more than one word. Saying “I’m alright” instead of “I wish I was not here today” is easy. Describing a false situation with several sentences is more complicated, and I strongly believe people will be sincere if they see in your eyes that you are ready to listen.

What Do You Think ?

Tell me your opinion in the comments, I am curious to read it and hope we can have a conversation about this. Are you having a good day ? Is everything okay for you despite all the coronavirus measures taken all over the world ? How is your life ? Are you watching Netflix or reading books more than ever ? (I wanna know!)

For me, things are getting complicated. I have taken the decision along with my host family that I should go back to France as soon as possible. I miss my family but I find leaving rather tough too. Being stuck here would certainly be no fun and not reasonable, but in the end I will be just as stuck in France. What comforts me is that I will be close to my family. Like all of you, I wish this situation came to an end so that we could finally enjoy going outside, meeting people and having fun together. I hope it all goes back to normal soon, but I do not see it happening before many months.

Be safe everybody,

Phil.

5 thoughts on “When You Say “How Are You?”, Do You Actually Mean It ?

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